Fri, May 11, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Low stock market turnover dents tax revenues: ministry

CHALLENGES:Concern over the US economy and EU debt may continue to spook investors and affect revenue from the securities transaction tax

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

It will be a challenge for the nation’s tax revenues to achieve the government’s goal of NT$1.8225 trillion (US$62 billion) this year, as the continuous contraction of turnover on the stock market may impact revenues from the securities transaction tax.

Tax revenues fell 0.5 percent from a year earlier to NT$90.6 billion last month, making tax revenues in the first four months NT$398.3 billion, down 0.7 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

Securities transaction tax revenues totaled NT$27.7 billion in the first four months, down NT$5.5 billion, or 16.6 percent, from the previous year, marking the sharpest fall among all taxes, ministry data showed.

Revenues from the tax accounted for 67.8 percent of its budget allotment in the first four months.

“Turnover on the nation’s stock market during the [January-to-April] period was lower than the level set in the budget,” Hsu Ray-lin (許瑞琳), deputy director of the ministry’s statistics department, told a press conference.

The ministry set the tax’s budget allotment at NT$126.5 billion this year, based on its estimates that average daily turnover on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and the over-the-counter market would be about NT$160 billion this year.

However, average daily turnover was only NT$118 billion during the first four months of the year, making revenues from the securities transaction tax lower than expected.

Continuing uncertainty because of economic worries in the US and the eurozone, as well as domestic issues, may continue to spook investors and affect tax revenues, Hsu said, adding that the ministry has “a lot to do” to remedy the situation.

However, Hsu said the ministry was still “cautiously optimistic” that full-year tax revenues could achieve the government’s goal.

“A clearer picture [of this year’s tax revenues] will emerge after the announcement of the tax revenues for May and June, the hot season for revenues from consolidated income tax,” Hsu said.

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